Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports



During his second NFL season, linebacker Eli Harold joined teammates Eric Reid and Colin Kaepernick as they kneeled in protest during pre-game national anthems. The story of the protest dominated headlines last season and the repercussions of it have dominated headlines into this offseason.

Kaepernick, who had spent his first six NFL seasons with the San Francisco 49ers and led the team to a Super Bowl during the 2012 season, remains unsigned after becoming a free agent in March. Some have argued that Kaepernick simply isn't one of the better quarterbacks in the league or doesn't fit many offensive schemes making signing him as a backup a difficult decision to make. The majority argues that Kaepernick is being blackballed for his protest during the 2016 season against what he calls "unjust" actions by this country and that teams are worried about the backlash from fans should they sign him.

Kaepernick himself noticed a difference between the 49ers fanbase and the fans of other NFL teams while playing last season.

"I think that's something to me that was very evident depending on where we're playing," Kaepernick said in December. "Atlanta was somewhere where I had a lot of support, a lot of people saying they agree with what I'm doing, support it and are happy that I did it and to keep going and to stay strong. And there's other places where the fans don't agree as much. Buffalo, in particular, was one where that was very evident. So, it shows the different cultures and different beliefs throughout this country and it also makes it very evident that there's a difference in perspective between white America and black America."

Harold joined the Taylor Price Talk podcast on Wednesday and discussed the backlash that he received due to the protest and how he feels about Kaepernick remaining unsigned this deep into the offseason.

"Yeah, that's bulls**t," Harold told Price. "Everyone knows why he's not signed with a team right now – because of the stand that he took. If he wouldn't have took that stand, he would be the starting quarterback somewhere. There have been guys signed in the offseason that can't hold Kap's jockstrap. Everyone knows that but no one will admit that it's for that specific reason because that's the world that we live in. That's the corruptness, that's the crookedness in our society today and it's going to be like that forever if guys don't step up and try to make change.

"With him not being signed, it makes no sense. When you go back and look at the games he played and look at the stats that he had in those games, he has better numbers than half the quarterbacks in the league who started the whole year. So, you can't tell me that it's because he's not a good football player."

Harold said that he believes Kaepernick should be honored by the various awards programs rather than ignored and should even be in the conversation for a Nobel Prize.

"Nobody has ever had more guts than he had in this situation," Harold said. "You put him in the conversation with Muhammad Ali in courageousness. What he did – people don't do that these days. People are scared what others think. People are scared to be called out.

"When I took the stand with Kap, I didn't care about the backlash that I was going to get. And I was called bigger – all kinds of stuff. I was being called stuff by people I thought really cared about me from my hometown. They really didn't, ultimately. When you ask the question, I don't care about being backlashed because there's nothing else that you can call me that I haven't already been called. I [couldn't] care less what people think.

"I get into it with people on Twitter every single day. Fans, it doesn't matter. People just don't understand and they constantly say, 'He's disrespecting the military.' If you read and you're calling us ignorant for kneeling during the anthem, you're the real ignorant one because you're still blaming stuff that it never had to do with. People are still saying, 'You're disrespecting America. You're disrespecting America.' It had nothing to do with the flag. It had nothing to do with the military. We're trying to speak for the people who don't have a voice."

Harold went on to say that he has countless family and friends who have served in the military and reaffirmed that the protest had nothing to do with the country's armed forces.

You can listen to the entire interview with Harold on the Taylor Price Talk podcast.